Is 25-Man Easier Than 10-Man? The Question Is Answered – With Actual Science

It’s the eternal question of WoW raiding, possibly responsible for more forum battles than any other. Is 10-man raiding harder or easier than 25-man raiding?

Well, today marks a fascinating and glorious step in this ancient argument’s history. For the first time ever, thanks to Paragon’s decision to go 10-man, we’ve got serious hard evidence of how the world’s top guilds do when they swap from 10-man to 25-man.

And when there’s hard evidence and Serious Statistics to be done, there’s only one man to turn to: the Bringer of Math And Pounding Headaches himself, Theck, who today has written a very scientific examination of all possible hypotheses about the new world firsts

“Now, looking at the data we have, the first two situations seem to match. Paragon progressed a little faster than the 25-man guilds, and there was a large gap between Paragon and the other 10-man guilds during progression. The gap has also closed rather quickly, though probably not quickly enough for 10-man to be too much easier than 25-man. Our data seems to be consistent with “10 roughly equal to 25″ and “10 slightly easier than 25,” with the additional assumption that the 25-man guilds are more skilled.

But the data is flat-out inconsistent with the third situation. Paragon didn’t trail Method, and the progression gap isn’t remaining very large (though it is non-trivial, given how few 10-man guilds have finished the instance so far). Despite the progression gap, the data simply doesn’t seem consistent with 10-mans being significantly harder (again, given that 25-man guilds are more skilled).

Now, you might quibble with me here (and rightfully so). “Theck,” you might say, “you’ve decided that 10-mans weren’t harder, but you did so based on a conjecture – namely, that 25-man guilds are more skilled. What if the inconsistency isn’t due to the difficulty, but due to that conjecture being wrong?”

That’s a fair point, and one we should address. So let’s make the counter-hypothesis. Let’s assume that all of the guilds in question are equally skilled. What do we expect to happen then?”

It’s a rare and beautiful thing to see such an apparently subjective point as raid difficulty addressed with actual logic, rigor and data, as opposed to forum rhetoric. And Theck does a brilliant job here, in a post I know I found absolutely fascinating.

I won’t spoiler the results – although I will say that just because Theck’s a 25-man raider, don’t expect any bias in that direction. So, if you want to know the answer, at least for MoP, backed up with Actual Data – go, read, learn.

Do you think Theck’s got it right? Graphs and formal proofs optional :)